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The Catskill Scenic Trail lives up to its name as it winds through a broad farming valley and small towns in New York's Catskill Mountains. The West Branch of the Delaware River is often in sight, with opportunities for fishing and wading in the river's cool waters. The route is primarily agricultural and can at times take your breath away—especially when the farm fields have recently been fertilized.
The trail's west end is in the village of Bloomville. A short path downhill from the parking lot on Agway Road takes you across Route 10 and to the rail-trail. The Sheffield Farm Dairy plant, located in Bloomfield, contained the country's first milk pasteurization facility. The Ulster and Delaware railroad trains served the plant in the early 1900s. Some restoration work is currently underway on the dilapidated building. Continuing east, you cross a series of bridges back and forth over the river, and fishing access points are numerous.
In South Kortright, the trail passes through a farmyard. Be prepared—and use caution—when resident turkeys approach looking for a handout. After crossing Route 10 again you will pass the beautiful Belle Terre facility. Formally a private estate, the grounds now house a substance abuse rehabilitation center.
The West Branch of the Delaware River runs right along the trail for most of the 4 miles between Hobart and Stamford. There are some pretty spots to relax with a book or enjoy a picnic; consider heading in to Hobart via Maple Street to stock up on refreshments or to browse the used bookstores on Main Street.
Entering Stamford the restored train station serves as an information center and houses the Catskill Revitalization Corporation, which owns and manages the Catskill Scenic Trail as well as the nearby Delaware and Ulster scenic railroad. Stamford sits at the base of 3,241-foot Mount Utsayantha. The mountain is named for a local American Indian maiden and the tragic legend at the heart of the story.
For the last 5 miles, from Stamford to Grand Gorge, the trail remains near the river, and here you can see signs of busy beavers creating dams, building lodges and occasionally dropping a tree across the trail.
The trail continues for another 7 miles to the village of Roxbury. Most of this segment follows the banks of the East Branch of the Delaware River, passing many interesting rock formations.
As of June 2012, passage from the western edge of Grand Gorge to points east are difficult on bicycle due to the remaining (embedded) railroad ties and damage to bridges, so please use caution whether walking or riding.
To reach Bloomville from I-88 in Oneonta: Take the exit for State Route 28 toward Delhi for 20.7 miles. Turn left on State Route 10 for 7.7 miles. East of the village of Bloomville, look for Agway Road (also known as Feed Store Road) on the left.
To reach Roxbury from I-87: Take the exit for New York State Route 23 West. In Grand Gorge, turn south on New York State Route 30. The trail begins at Hard Scrabble Road. There is limited parking along the shoulder.
My wife and I traveled from Stanford to Bloonville today. Very nice day for a mtn bike ride. As many others have stated the gravel does get a bit tiring on the way back but thankfully we had very good mtn bikes. We were also able to have sandwiches made at the Tops grocery store. They made great sandwiches to order. The store is in Stanford about 1/4 mile from the parking area. The views and streams that are adjacent to the trail are very nice. We passed only a few bikers and a few walkers. No ATVs and one tractor that was doing trail maintenance.
A great walk to do in section. The best sections are from Bloomsville to grand gorge. To Roxbury follow the main roads
My wife and I, fit and in our 60s, took this trail for a pleasure jaunt on a Sunday afternoon in late July. It was a sunny, 90-degree day. Based on prior reviews, we decided to start in Stamford and head southwest toward Bloomville.
We had the trail just about entirely to ourselves, passing just a four cyclists in the couple of hours we were on the trail. Despite the heat, the ride was very comfortable, with lots of shade and a nice breeze.
The terrain was varied just enough to keep us alert--occasional gravel patches, some grassy areas early in the trip--but nothing alarming or difficult to manage. I ride a 10-speed bike (not a mountain bike) and had no problems--it was pretty smooth sailing.
Other reviewers have mentioned motorized vehicles. We got on the trail just as a half-dozen retirees were steering their all terrain vehicles off the trail in Stamford. That was the last we saw or heard of anything motorized.
We didn't quite make it to Bloomville, but turned around just west of South Kortright. A lovely ride--varied scenery, lots of shade, lovely birdsongs--couldn't have asked for anything better.
After reading the mixed reviews here about the trail being super bumpy and overrun by ATVs, my husband and I weren’t sure what to expect. We decided to risk it and really enjoyed the ride on our hybrids. We took a 24 mile there-and-back from Stamford to Bloomville in late October 2020. Weather was a bit chilly, and we saw a few walkers, who seemed like locals, one other biker, and one motorcyclist. No problem finding the trail in Stamford — it’s right at the Depot.
Pros: (1) The scenery is really nice and has a great variety. We also biked on the Ashkogan trail while vacationing in the Catskills, and while that trail is better maintained, there is a lot more to see on this ride. You basically go through farmland, by streams, through small communities. (2) It’s very flat and easy riding.
Cons: (1) The trail is decently maintained, and not nearly as bad as some reviewers have suggested, at least between Stamford/Bloomville. There were a few bumpy sections, and some sections overgrown with grass. It had rained the day before, and there were a couple of muddy patches. If you want to barrel through as fast as possible without watching the trail, this isn’t for you. But if you want to keep a moderate pace, the trail is just fine. At no point did we need to get off our bikes or find it so bumpy that it was not rideable. I would say that 85-90% of the trail is in quite good shape — kind of like biking on a country lane. (2) There are a few sections near Bloomville where the trail passes right by backyards of small houses with a lot of trash and junk in them. Just not the nicest vibe. (3) We encountered one guy on a motorbike cruising down the trail at probably 30 mph. From other reviews, seems like motorized vehicles might be more frequent at some times than others. If that’s the case, that would definitely have changed this from a really fun ride to one that I wouldn’t enjoy.
My daughter and I are always using the trail. Last week we rode our bikes from South Kortright to Bloomville and had a great time. It's so beautiful. So lucky to have this in our backyard.
This used to be my favorite bike trail, but on a recent day we encountered more motorized vehicles on the trail than bikes. We were overtaken by two ATVs, and had to pull off the trail to let a pickup truck pass! Clearly it's now unsafe for bikes to use the trail, yet when I contacted the sponsoring organization (Catskill Revitalization Corp.) they seemed unconcerned. It's a shame that this trail is now in decline and can't be recommended for biking. Let's hope these issues are addressed before it's lost for good.
Started out in bloomville. Rode 5.3 miles on fat tires. The trail was too rough for our bikes. We encountered an UTV on the trail. A grandpa and grandson were using the trail to get to town. Pops was setting a bad example imo showing it is okay to drive motorized on an nonmotorized trail... Also encountered heavy equipment on the trail in the same area. Either someone is maintaining the trail and removing debris or again, someone is using the trail to get to their property. The tracked equipment was leaving ruts so between the ruts, logs, rocks etc, this trail was too rough to be fun. The map shows the TH in bloomville is across the highway. That too is being overtaken by adjacent landowners. The "TH" was cluttered with industrial sized trash bins scattered everywhere leaving little room to park and no appearance of a "TH" . Despite these issues, the turntable foundation was cool. And so was the old dairy.
I rode from Stamford to Bloomfield on May 21st. The ride is scenic although you should expect farmfields and farm trash pushed to the edge of fields. I do a lot of cycling and used a cyclocross bike, but this trail really was rough with downed trees and many, many sticks on the trail. The constant attention I had to give to avoiding sticks flipping into my spokes and sending me flying made me lose sight at times of the marvelous scenery. A few parts of the trail all grass. I wish I could win the lottery and give the CST folks a generous donation so the trail could be a bit better maintained. Stamford has a gorgeous amenity with this rail-trail and a depot still standing.
I am an experienced rail trail rider. Had this been my "first" venture on a rail trail, I would be hard pressed to be convinced to go on another. I love the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the work they do. I am an avid trail rider. I don't usually write reviews but feel in this case it is wise to give a heads-up to inexperienced trail riders.
I started in Roxbury. It was hard to even find the trailhead. The grass is knee high. No signs for parking. I took my chances and parked on Rt 30, which turned out to be fine. There were no other cars parked at the trail head. Not a good sign! Except for the high grass (oh boy, ticks were on my mind) the trail from Roxbury to where you cross Rt 30 towards the Gorge was uneventful except for the marshy area where you come out at the road that required walking your bike.
Once on the other side the "fun" begins. As one reviewer noted, lots of sticks. And mud. And rocks. And loose gravel. The stretch of exposed railroad ties is short and definitely walkable. The rest of the trail is hard going, and between the high grass, mud, rocks, gravel and sticks, my time was really slow, slower than my usual slow pace.
I was disappointed that the Catskill Revitalization Corp building was fairly dilapidated and closed (on Memorial Day Weekend). There are basically no amenities along the way (except a Family Dollar right on the trail in Stamford) and no signage pointing to any at any of the street crossings. I do not see how it is possible ride the entire trail out and back AND take in the off the trail sightseeing as described in the trail description (Official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Guidebook), and do it all before dark. (Fishing, picnicking, reading a book, exploring the towns, really?) As it were, it took me from 9:45 am to 6:30 pm to go out and back. (Granted, I am a 60 year old woman riding alone but with 1000s of miles of experience.)
There are no mile markers, but some signage after the Gorge indicating miles to the next town. Only no signs to indicate that you indeed had reached that town. (I am comparing this to other rail trails that have signage, amenities and indications that you are in a certain town.) It is obvious there's a town nearby at some of the crossings, but unless you are well armed with maps and prior research, you won't be absolutely sure of where you are. Signage connecting the trail at crossings is good.
You can read about all the types of areas you'll be riding through in the trail overview.
Lack of riders on a beautiful, sunny holiday weekend day in May is an indication that the trail may leave a lot to be desired. In the entire trip out and back I only saw may a dozen other riders, and only three of whom I saw coming and going.
Even with all the hardship, it was a beautiful area of the country to ride. My recommendation is to not ride this trail alone as there are too many areas where if you got hurt or had mechanical issues you'd be waiting a good long while for help. I had no cell phone coverage for most of the trip. Make sure your bike is suited for the conditions. Don't even think about taking your road bike. Take lots of water, food, bug spray, first aid kit, etc. Don't depend on being able to stock up along the way. Don't make this trail your first rail trail experience. Try a shorter one that's less difficult first. If you are hell bent on doing the whole trip in one shot (like me, as I read that recommendation in the overview, ahem), start in Roxbury as the grade will be in your favor on the way back.
I hope the Catskill Revitalization Corp is able to raise the funds to support the upkeep of this trail. It has so much potential and is one of the few trails in the northeast that are more than a few miles long.
(My ride: Surly Long Haul Trucker.)
This trail has a ton of potential, but a couple words of warning: the sections East of Stamford are looser, and the Roxbury--Grand Gorge section in particular is ill-maintained. We went in April which was probably a bit early in the season, as much of it was wet and we found it tough going for much of it, even on gravel bikes. Full MTBs might work better.
The scenery is 4.5 and the surface varies from 3.0 to 4.5.
This could be a destination trail if money were invested to improve the surface and put in better mileage signs. The local volunteers are trying hard but they could use some help. There are a number of road crossings but traffic is light.
Cooperstown NY is about an hour away and a great place to spend the night.
Terrific trail in terms of scenery and signage and very good in terms of maintenance. After reading several reviews, we went with the Bloomville to Stamford route, then back to Bloomville. The Bloomville Trailhead has a nicely shaded parking lot on Highway 10 that is marked by one of the octagonal CST signs. It's a small sign that you have to look for when driving on the eastern outskirts of town, but it is on the shoulder and visible. These signs are all along the trail, along with several other larger detail signs of the entire trail and particular features. The scenery is amazing: rural Catskill farmland and the Delaware River West Branch. I could see this being a fantastic birding area at dusk or dawn. We did get a wonderful close up sighting of a great blue heron and a kingfisher on our midday ride. Large rocks and railroad ties still embedded in the trail? Very minimal, but zero complaints from us. Grass was minimal and no higher than an inch or two. Also note that on our early August 2016 ride, a bridge one quarter mile north of Hobart was under construction. The deck was halfway done when we got there, but was easily walked across. Elevation gain from B'ville to Stam was 300 feet, so I call it flat. 25 miles was perfect for us. If you are in this area of the Catskills I would highly recommend this section of a fine trail. Thanks CST!
While the scenery is very nice, the trail itself is not maintained at all well. My bike is a hybrid, and I've never been on a bumpier trail. I rode the section from Stamford east to Grand Gorge (which I thought was a natural feature, but it's just the name of a small settlement!). Good-sized rocks embedded in the trail made the ride quite bumpy. It is also grass-covered in many places. Just east of Grand Gorge, it gets worse - only one very slender lane with tall grass abounding. In sections, the railroad ties were never removed. The ties are rotting and are only about an inch out of the ground, but were totally unmanageable on my hybrid. At this point, I turned around and made my way back to Stamford on road via NY 23.
I reread the trail description in the Rails-to-Trails guide and there was no mention of these difficulties. The online version says nothing about it either. The surface condition is rated a 2. There's no way! 3 or higher, in my opinion.
I rode the western section of a his trail on a late Friday in early June. The first word that comes to mind is rural. The trail is relatively underused and grassy in sections but is very flat and easy to ride. There are times it feels like you're riding across a field. The pastoral farm views is very upstate NY and I agree that a camera is part of the experience. As a rider in the DC/ Baltimore corridor, the openness and privacy was refreshing. I'd recommend it , possibly be mindful of weather and wet conditions affecting the trail but also appreciate the solitude it offers
My friend and I attempted to ride this trail at the end of February. Beware, it's too wet and you'll sink into the gravel. We were both riding mountain bikes and couldn't get through. We've ridden other rail trails during this winter in similar condition; however, this surface was virtually impassable, unlike others. I think it has to do with the black cinder. We trudged through 3 miles then decided to hit the road. Luckily, the trail flanks the road and it was easy to make the transition. The little bit of scenery on the trail from the Grand Gorge parking lot was lovely. We look forward to going back in the spring. Our road ride took us as far as South Kortright and Belle Terre. There are some small towns with interesting architecture that we passed through.
If you decide to ride from Grand Gorge, the parking lot is about a half-mile on Rte. 30 South from the Rte. 23 and 30 intersection. It, as the trail, is relatively non-descript. Look for the brown Catskill Scenic sign and the lot is on the left. There are yellow directions signs to let you know if you're heading north (Stamford) or south (Roxbury) on the trail.
We picked up the trail at Grand Gorge and headed south toward Roxbury. Neither of us had the recommended mountain or hybrid bikes; having heard that the trail was pretty rough at this point, we were prepared to leave our bikes at the car and hike it. We were delighted to find that, although the trail was grassy, the cinder and dirt ruts were quite manageable for our commuter bikes, especially on a dry day. There were just one or two rocky spots where walking the bike might have been a good idea. On a Monday in August, we passed one other group of bicyclists; the trail might be more heavily used on weekends.
There's a small parking area at the Grand Gorges trailhead. The trail south runs along a small stream that is the East Branch of the Delaware River and through what I assume is the actual "Grand Gorge." It's not as narrow or dramatic as some of the Finger Lakes gorges, but it's wooded and some of the rocks are lovely. After a couple of miles, the trail emerges into a very pretty valley with a couple of farms, set among the Catskill foothills. The little bridge here needs repair—the planking is worn and has some holes—but we didn't have any problems. At this point, very close to Roxbury, the trail became all grass; after a half mile of this, we headed back.
Our only regret is that we didn't have time to bike more of the trial. Looking forward to exploring more of it on a return visit.
Bicycled this trail in two sections. First from Stamford to Bloomville, then from Stamford to Grand Gorge. The trail is much less developed from the west edge of Grand Gorge to Roxbury; I didn't bicycle it.
The station in Stamford is nicely maintained. Heading west, as you leave the village, you can see another right-of-way taking off to the right. Somebody is mowing it, so it's quite clear. This was the original routing of this railroad, which was named the "New York, Kingston, & Syracuse", which gives you a hint of their ambitions.
More information on this railroad is on my website of unfinished railroads. http://russnelson.com/unfinished-railroads.html#NewYorkKingstonandSyracuse The farmers in Harpersfield sued the U&D because they spent $100,000 (20% of the value of all the property in the town) toward the building of the road through Harpersfield, and then the U&D built on a different route.
This trail is grass and cinders, but is nonetheless pleasant. The old Ulster & Delaware mile markers are the finest quality mile markers I've ever seen. The story is that when New York City paid the U&D to relocate to higher ground out of Ashokan Reservoir, they were flush with funds, and some of it went to making very nice mile markers.
Be sure to check out the railroad turntable bridge near Grand Gorge. It's being stored on the railroad's right-of-way for eventual installation at a new location.
Just an added note to my previous review. About 3 yrs. ago I was in Roxbury with my daughter at Plattekill for one of their DH races on her practice day. To kill time I wanted to ride this trail from Roxbury to Grand Gorge, but I couldn't find any access points to it. I could see what looked like portions of the trail from the highway and they looked very overgrown. Not easy to find and it didn't look like it would be very easy to ride through all the grass & weeds, so I finally just gave up on it. Hopefully it has been more well maintained and has some signs to direct you where you can access the trail and to park.
Yesterday I revisited my hometown of Stamford to try out this trail with my dogs. We parked at the old train station on Railroad Ave. and walked out the trail towards Hobart for about 45 min. and returned. Nice easy walk for me & the dogs. They were too interested in sniffing all the new smells to even beg for treats like they usually do!! Definitely want to go back again and try biking other parts of the trail. I live a little more than an hour away, so not too bad to get there.
My wife and I departed from the Bloomville trail end and rode to Hobart and back in late September. This end of the trail is beautiful, often running through farm fields or next to the river, all with views of hillsides & mountains. Trail was easy to follow, mostly flat and the Autumn scenery was gorgeous. Stopped in Hobart, not much in terms of choices of places to eat, but there is a gas station less than a mile off the trail on Rt 10 that makes good subs and has tables inside and outside to sit down and eat. Definitely better off with mountain bike, but this end of the trail was good for all ages.
The stretch from Roxbury to Stamford was all I could do. I enjoyed it, didn't find it rough at all, except for two 100-yard stretches in Grand Gorge.
Rode the trail from Roxbury to Stamford and back. Too cold and too late in the day to do the rest.
There's a few bumpy stretches in Grand Gorge totaling a couple hundred yards but mostly it's very smooth.
You're never far from a state highway so it's not as quiet as it could be. But its a scenic trail and a nice rice.
Visited the Catskills this summer and decided to rent bikes to ride this trail, being an avid rail-trail cyclist. I frequently ride 30-40 mile stretches, but only made it 13 miles of this trail before having to throw in the towel. We started from the Roxbury end. First off, the trailhead is extremely hard to find, there only being a small sign set back behind some trees where it's not visible from the road. Don't expect to be able to rely on navigation systems up here to find it either, as there was no cell or GPS service to be had. Once we got on the trail, we found it to be very poorly maintained - overgrown grass and mud the whole way, with railroad ties still in place for the first several miles. We came a couple days after a big rain storm, so there were huge flooded areas that we had to stop and go around every quarter- to half-mile. If this section ever had cinder or crushed stone paving of any kind, it was long gone, and the going was tough even on mountain bikes. Finally made it to Stamford after 3 hours of HARD riding, a distance that would have normally taken me an hour or so, and decided to call it a day. Maybe the western part of the trail is in better shape, but the Stamford to Roxbury end is not bike-friendly unless you're a serious off road cyclist - definitely not the family-friendly, leisurely afternoon ride that was advertised. Especially to be avoided after any major rain storms, as the surrounding terrain seems to drain right into the trail. Very disappointing!
I CONTINUED MY RIDE ON THIS TRAIL IN GRAND GORGE.THE TRAIL STARTS ABOUT 200 FEET PAST THE BOCES SCHOOL IN GRAND GORGE,THERE IS A LARGE RED STEEL TRESTLE AND SIGN AT THE TRAILHEAD .THIS PART WAS A JOY TO RIDE MOSTLY ALL HARD PACK CINDER FILL WITH GREAT SCENERY INCLUDING A NICE MEANDERING STREAM WITH VARIOUS BEAVER DAMS ALONG IT. THERE WAS A RED TAILED HAWK CRUISING ABOVE ON THE PERIPHERY OF THE MEADOWS. I STOPPED TO TAKE SOME PHOTOS AND SAW A BEAVER TAKE A BUNCH OF GREEN GROWTH ALONG THE STREAM AND SWIM AWAY WITH IT! THE RIDE CONTINUES THRU FARMLAND AND CORNFIELDS BEFORE REACHING A NICE SMALL PARK JUST BEFORE HOBART, A SMALL SET OF BRIDGES OVER A POND WITH SEAT PERFECT SPOT FOR A PICNIC. AFTER LUNCHING I TURNED AROUND AND HEADED BACK TO MY CAR. ABOUT A 17 MILE RD TRIP RIDE . I WILL POST MY PHOTOS ASAP,THANKS TO ALL FOR THEIR REVIEWS AND INFO ON THESE RIDES
I PICKED UP MY CONTINUED RIDE ALONG THIS TRAIL FROM HOBART TO SOUTH KORTRITE I JULY OF 2014 ,THE TRAIL FROM THIS POINT ON IS ROUGHER THAN STAMFORD TO HOBART. I CHANGED TO 1.75 TIRES FOR THIS RIDE.IT STARTS OUT WITH LOOSE ROCK AND ROUGH GROUND, IT GETS A LITTLE SMOOTHER PASSING THROUGH CORN FIELDS AND MEADOWS. AN ALPACA FARM WAS ALONG THE WAY AS A COUPLE OF GOATS THAT WOULD NOT YIELD THE TRAIL UNTIL SHOOED AWAY. I CUT THIS PART SHORT DUE TO AN IMPENDING THUNDERSTORM ON THE HORIZON. I WILL RETURN I AUGUST TO START FROM GRAND GORGE
It was another perfect weather day to finish the ride we had started two weeks ago. This time my wife and I parked our car in Bloomville and rode to Stamford and back. It was 12.5 miles one way through beautiful farm fields and meandering streams. Even though we live north of here, we often take these vistas for granted. Riding a bike or hiking this path lets you appreciate this region all the more. The elevation gain from Bloomville to Stamford is a gradual 350 feet, but it made for a great ride back to our car. The trail conditions here were much smoother and seemed to be better maintained by my wife's standards. (I prefer the mud and rocks myself.) Lots of local ladies(cows) grazing in the fields along the path. I would say the highlight of our trip was the pet pig we saw roaming free in his/her owner's backyard as we passed through South Kortright. Our total time for riding this trip was 2:35 - not including the obligatory ice cream stop at Mac-adoodles on main street in Stamford. Definitely recommend this section of the trail for family's with children.
It was a perfect weather day, sunny and 72 degrees. My wife and I live in the area, but it was her first time on this trail(my second time). We started on the trailhead north of Roxbury. The trail is grassy for about 5 miles with a slight uphill grade to where it intersects route 30. Just before the intersection is a swampy section behind the old Becker's Tire (it burned down last year) that was a little tricky to negotiate. After crossing route 30 the trail drops downhill to route 23 for a great ride through the woods. It was wet cinders and rutted in spots with some ditches and railroad ties to negotiate. Some reviewers complain about this section, but I loved it. Definitely recommend a mountain bike for in here instead of a hybrid. After crossing route 23 the trail climbs about 300 feet in elevation over a distance of about 6 miles to Stamford. Its a mix of cinders and grass for most of the way with a few wet spots. The scenery is quite beautiful all throughout the valley. We stopped in Stamford after traveling 13.5 miles. There is a little ice cream shop on main street called MacAdoodles where we took a much needed break. Time and our legs did not allow us to go all the way to Bloomville this trip so we retraced our way back to our car in Roxbury. The roundtrip of 27 miles took us 3 hours and 15 minutes without our ice cream break. We definitely recommend this ride.
I PICKED UP THE TRAIL IN STAMFORD BY THE MUSEUM AND RODE PAST HOBART AND ABOUT 3-4 MILES FURTHER. WILDFLOWERS WERE IN FULL BLOOM. TRAIL WAS WELL PACKED CINDER WITH NO WET SPOTS. VERY SENIC ALONG RIVER SOME NICE OPEN VIEWS. TRAIL HEAD AT HARDSCRABBLE ROAD HARD TO FIND PARKING FOR 1 CAR, SO I CONTINUED TO STAMFORD. WILL RETURN IN AUGUST TO GO FROM HOBART TO BLOOMVILLE. THANKS TO ALL THE INFO RE: STARTING AND PARKING POINTS. I WISH THERE WAS A SHUTTLE SERVICE HERE. I USED A MT. BIKE WITH 1.25 WIDE TIRES.FOOD AVAILABLE IN GRAND GORGE,STAMFORD AND HOBART.
Today was a perfect outdoors day - 70 degrees, crisp blue sky. The trail to Stamford for the most part is smooth. A few minor rough spots. The most important thing is the spectacular scenery. Lush pastoral scenes abound.
Hardly any traffic.
The only wild life I saw besides birds was a black panther west of Stamford. From about 75 yards I saw what I first thought was a small black bear, but when it turned I saw it had a long black tail, and it was longer than a bear and had short legs. It hunkered down and stared at me for a couple seconds then bounded off the trail in a slinky cat-like move. It had to be 3-4 feet long. It was extremely black!
Later I saw a domestic cat on the trail and it definitely looked like a domestic cat. So I'm sure the "panther" was not an ordinary domestic cat.
Later on the trek I came upon a couple sitting on the porch of a 4 story 100 foot long stone house and was immediately "attacked" by four tiny poodle-like dogs tails awaving. I got off the bike and asked if I could take photos of a Chinese junk in their yard. When I went back to my bike there was a big fat pig running at me. They said he wanted a belly rub.
It was an interesting ride.
Started at Boces parking in Grand Gorge (GG). Starting here eliminates the rough RR tie section between HW 30 and Jump Brook (JB) Road in GG. Boces is on the left on JB Road . The trail is right ahead crossing JB Road.
The trail to Stamford is excellent (unpaved) trail. Nice scenery and friendly people.Tried to have lunch at TP Cafe on Railroad Avenue in Stamford but they close at 3:00 PM and I was late.
I may have imagined it but the trip back to GG seemed to be downhill, very fast. Had a nice conversation with a homeowner cutting his grass. He pointed out where a pair of bald eagles had nested. But the tree was blown down in a storm and they are now looking for a new site for a nest.
Forgot to put stars on the review I wrote. You could add them if you think it matters. Thanks, K
New to off road biking. so my comments are without off-road experience. Have a new Giant Cyprus hybrid.
Wanted to check out the section between Roxbury and Grand Gorge (GG) because some of these reviews said there was a bad section near GG.
Wanted to start at Hardscrable Rd. near Roxbury but there is NO START there.
I traveled further North of Roxbury on HW 30 past a large agriculture plant on the right with lots of big trucks parked and 1 mile further on the right there was a little paved turn-off. Pulled off and there was the trail. Enough parking for only one car.
The trail was fine except for constant bumping along the way. It mostly followed along HW30 so constant road noise was evident.
When I got to within 100 yds. of the HW30 crossing near GG the trail dipped down into a grassy wet swamp and exposed RR ties. I walked the 100 yds. to HW30 and crossed expecting that was the last of the RR ties.
The next 1/2-1 mile was a rocky trail and lots of muddy holes where I walked. Then there they were again RR ties. I walked about 1/4 mile of them and came to a fairly large bridge over a Gorge (could have been Jump Brook). Hoped that would be the last of the RR Ties but on the other side there they were again.
I quit and walked back past the RR ties and biked back to Roxbury.
From where I parked the trail continued south towards Roxbury. It was all grassy and appeared unused. But again constant bumping. I suspect all of this trail section still has RR ties in them covered with dirt and cinders and are invisible BUT still are felt. Where I actually saw them they were exposed by water erosion. I may be wrong, but the most visible ones were in that 100 yd. section of grassy swamp near HW 30. And all the other ones were in wet damp areas with no vegetation.
Just (almost) did the Roxbury to Bloomville ride (and back) and found the trail to be better than we remembered from a ride taken before Irene's devastation. Our lunch stop at a very nice Stamford cafe on Railroad Ave. included a random meeting with a very old friend whom we hadn't seen in 30 years. Consequently, we ran out of time and had to turn around a few miles short of Bloomville which was ok since we've done the ride before. Anyway, the trail is awesome! The open vistas and woodland views are magically beautiful. We met some nice young guys visiting from Sweden and joined them for a section of our ride. They shared our enthusiasm for the unique beauty of the trail. Everyone should try this ride — even a short section — it's gorgeous! Tip: Go in dry weather unless you're good with mud. Enjoy! K&S
I have been on the trails several times this spring. The Stamford - Hobart section is excellent. The Stamford - Grand Gorge section is still a bit soft and wet in places. There are a few bridges which could use some TLC but otherwise the rides are great.
About two years ago, I did the section from Stamford to Grand gorge but didn't finish because of the rough section of old railroad ties. So I turned around and went back to stemford, it was a lovely round trip and I plan to go back and finish the rest of the trail soon.
The biggest thing this trail has going for it is the surrounding scenery and the nice little towns. I rode the trail on Wednesday, Sept.19 right after a day of rain. I was not optimist about how the trail surface would be, but I was pleasantly surprised. I rode the trail with my hybrid and it was ok, but would have been a little better on a mountain bike. As I was riding, there was a guy on a tractor riding the trail check for and removing fallen trees and limbs.(there weren't that many, but it was nice to know that someone was paying that much attention to keeping the trail open). I did not see anyone else on the trail for the whole 26 miles. There was one place where I had to stop twice and lift my bike over a pasture fence and as I rode through the cows one at a time moved away from the trail to the right. There was one area from Hwy 23 outside Grand Gorge to the next road that really, really needs serious attention. One should not have to ride across railroad ties even though it wasn't that long. Also there was a cut through a rock area that was extremely mushy. Both of these area were not far from the road and would be easy to improve with a load of fine crushed gravel or limestone. I wish I lived in the area so I could volunteer to work on that area. With that area improve it would be a much better trail.
Yesterday was our second trip on a section of the CST. The first time, we rode from Grand Gorge to Stamford and back. Yesterday, we started in Roxbury and rode to Grand Gorge. We'd have rode back, but I had a little accident and I guess I sprained my ankle. The section of the trail just between Route 30 and Jump Brook Road is not in the best shape. It can be pretty mucky, and there are some sections where there are railroad ties still in the ground, making for a too-bumpy ride for the likes of me (not the most experienced cyclist). For the most part there, I walked my bike, and that was just fine. I'm thinking it's a work-in-progress, and the folks who are working on this trail will get to that section soon and make it just as nice as the rest of the trail, which is pretty nice!! One other important note: Maybe it's me, but in the guidebook, I got the impression that the entrance to the trail was somewhere on Hardscrabble Road, and we drove the length of that road searching for the trail. Well, it's not. The entrance is on Route 30 *near* Hardscrabble Road (Hardscrabble's on the left, the entrance is on the right). If you're traveling up from the village of Roxbury, the entrance will be on the right just after the second Hubbell Corners Road. And, parking is not on the shoulder but on a generous grassy area where several cars could park. As soon as I can ride again, we'll explore the section between Stamford and Bloomville. Enjoy!!
I did my third piece of this great trail on 8/27/12 from Stamford Train Station to Grand Gorge. The overview says 5 miles but it is 7.5 to the trail head on Rt 30 just south of Grand Gorge town. It is a very smooth level trail in great shape until Jump Brook Road just west of Grand Gorge near the BOCES school site. The overview which I had not read fully is correct when it states a section has not had the ties removed and presents a very difficult ride including being a very muddly logging road where I had to walk my bike. The last quarter mile to Rt 30 and Ferris Hill Road is fine once you get past the logging site. The main section could be improved by using crushed stone to fill about 9 water holes and 3 bridges have several broken boards. Overall though a great ride. Youker
For my second trip to the Catskill trail I picked a rainy day with threat of severe thunder storms. Staying in the Super 8 east of Oneonta I could see from the Accu-weather computer weather map that the morning was going to be a wipe out but the afternoon looked promising. At 9 AM we drove to Stamford and on to Grand Gorge checking out that 5 mile part of the trail. It was a bit hard to find in places but just west of Grand Gorge it crosses Rt 30 and is easy to find and there is parking on Ferris Road at a construction materials site that the trail goes thru the middle of. By 1 PM the storm had passed and there was blue sky and I started the trail where I had left off last year in Hobart. It is 8.7 miles to Bloomville and the trail was no problem for a hybrid bike and took about an hour. The few places with grass or stones were tough but most of the trail was cinder and was fine. The trail had drained very well after the heavy rain. It was nice as described by other reviewers. Youker
I road the section of trail between Grand Gorge and Hobart, and it couldn't have been more beautiful. Late summer wildflowers were blooming all along the trail, the sun was warm, the breeze cool, and the scent of hay and freshly cut grass was everywhere. There were a number of muddy/boggy areas left over from Hurricane Irene, but nothing even my hybrid couldn't handle--and since I judge the quality of the ride by the amount of trail I'm wearing at the end, the mud was no issue.
The trail was marked closed just past Stamford, and though I don't typically ignore such signs, I did today, and I'm glad of it. There was no problem until Hobart, where I was planning to stop for lunch anyhow. They were rehabing the trail for a short stretch there and the trail turned to very loose soil and large, loose stones, so I had to get off and walk. It had obviously washed out in the storm. I cut up a lane into "downtown" Hobart for a bite at The Coffee Pot, which was the only open place in town. Great diner fare, though.
To get to Grand Gorge from Windham, I went up to County Road 10 to avoid the section of Route 23 that is closed between Ashland and Prattsville. No problems there.
I HIGHLY recommend riding this trail. I had a grand time and didn't see a soul, if you don't count the cows in one of the bordering pastures.
6/5/2011 I did a short piece from Stamford to Hobart and it was alright with a hybrid bike. However there are short rough patches, some with soft deep sand and some with bumpy stones. It is a lovely area and I will do more on my next trip north. Youker
Loved this trail!
We traveled to the Catskills to hike some peaks and bike this trail. We started in Stamford and biked to Great Gorge as was suggested in the book. The trail was in good shape for a mountain or cross terrain bikes. Touring bikes would have had a harder time with the soft ground, grassy areas, mud and water puddles after the snowy winter and rainy spring. It was May and the wild flowers were prolific along the 12 mile round trip. After returning to Stamford we were able to enjoy a wonderful lunch at T.P.'s Cafe on Railroad Street which is open for brunch and lunch every day but Monday's. There was a wonderful ice-cream place just around the corner on Main St. to sate any sweet desires! Can't wait to come back and do the other part of the trail!
A great reason to visit the Catskills!
I did the Stamford to Bloomville section, an out-and-back of about 25 miles. I parked at the old Bloomville station, and was the only car in the lot on a Sunday afternoon, which I found immediately appealing. The treil follows Route 23 and the Scoharie Creek, which is too rocky and low for scads of tubes or rafts, so there is virtually no tourist traffic on the water. If you like riding in relative solitude as I do, this trail is for you. The towns along the route are quiet, forgotten farming hamlets of a couple dozen houses....a real step back in time. In the 3+ hours I spent on the trail, I passed 4 other bikers and 3 hikers. I gorged on black raspberries at severeal spots, as well as some wild grapes (muscadines maybe ?). In some places, the smell of wildflowers and/or cedar is overpowering. Since there is virtually no traffic on Rt. 23 in this area, ther were no fumes to detract from those nature provided. Only a couple of spots where the trail was slightly degraded, but for most of its length you could ride an old school 10 speed without getting stuck. Be prepared with your own drinks and food, since there is almost nothing up there.
Beautiful, calm, rural trail through pristine watershed land in Delaware County NY. Portion of trail from Bloomville to South Kortright (along NY Route 10) is very rural, best to park at trailhead in Bloomville and walk eastbound. No services along the trail. From S. Kortright towards Stamford, trail passes through backyards, but local people are very friendly. Diner in Hobart.
Parking at old railroad station in Stamford, walk eastward (past a few stores, streets) gets very rural again. Overall, trail a fantastic place to hike and bike. This trail is one of the reasons we moved from NYC to Delaware County.
I loved this trail. I have only traveled it from Stamford to Grand Gorge and back, so I can't speak for all of it, but what I've seen thus far is just incredibly gorgeous. It's a real privilege, getting to pass through the back yards of working farm land. There are pastures and hills along this trail that resemble Andrew Wyeth paintings - just stunning.
I do need to respectfully disagree with the reviewer who said the trail should be paved. Part of the fun and charm of riding it was the bumpy, varied surface. I can see that on a wet day it would be difficult if not impossible to ride, but otherwise I see no problem with the condition of the trail. I like riding over gravel, dirt and the occasional weed or wildflower. It helps me feel like I'm riding in nature.
"I've ridden this trail many times in the past several years, and have no complaints other than that there's no parking in Grand Gorge which is closest to me. I've never been comfortable parking there because I don't know how the locals feel about it. I have started in Bloomville, (nice store, friendly people) and ridden to Grand Gorge and back. Maybe someone can let us know if it's cool to park in the lot for the senior citizen center.
It's just a wonderful trail, lots to see and experience.
Another poster mentioned another trail, it actually starts in Grand Gorge and goes to Roxbury. (Not in Bloomville - that would be a hike.)
It's a relatively flat trail, only one small hill along the way which is very short.
"The Catskill Scenic Trail is just gorgeous. One gets great views of the Catskill Mountains. It is a well marked trail with signs every time one crosses a road, along with mileage that lets you know how far it is to the end of the trail. This trail runs from Grand Gorge to Bloomville. When I reached Bloomville I was told by a farmer I talked to that facing the end of the trail at Bloomville across the road is another six miles of trail to Roxbury. I did not do this part of the trail.
This was one of the most enjoyable and scenic trails I have ever been on."
I biked this trail in July of 2005 and found it in disrepair. Who maintains this trail? The trail was overgrown in many places with some nasty potholes and an honest-to-goodness ditch somebody had the bright idea to dig straight across the path. Sometimes I had the feeling I was riding on someone(
I biked this path during the horse shoe festival in Stamford. The trail led right between the tap-dancing stage and the audience ! I felt I was on display !!
Pave this trail with asphalt and it will be hugely popular!
The scenery is really quite pretty.
"On August 9, we rode the Catskill Scenic Trail from the trailhead in Bloomville to the former Ulster and Delaware station in Stamford, a distance of approximately 12.8 miles. Finding the trailhead was easy - just look for an octagonal green and yellow sign on the highway just past the General Store in Bloomville on the right. Parking is just across the highway.
The trail surface was very good - a bit bumpy in spots, but no problems with standing water, even though it has rained a lot this summer. The trail gains a few hundred feet in elevation on the way to Stamford, but we hardly noticed it until we turned around and headed back. Before we did, we stopped for lunch at a nice ice cream shop (Greenbriar Farms) just up the hill and around the corner from the Stamford station. It was inexpensive and very friendly.
Scenery on the trail was great - some open cycling and some in the trees with good views of the surrounding mountains, especially near Bloomville in the first few miles. There are several nicely constructed bridges over the west branch of the Delaware River, which at this point is a very small stream, not like the large river down in NJ, where we live.
All in all, it's a great trail. You'll want to use a hybrid or mountain bike - use of a road bike would be difficult."
"I did the whole trail (and then some) from Grand Gorge to Bloomville. I parked at Grand Gorge on Bruce Porn Road (not an official trailhead parking but it saves driving to Stamford from the east). Anyway, I did the 19 miles out to Bloomville to the parking lot and then made a u-turn, biked a bit to a bench and had a nice lunch right by a creek.
Nice trail, nice surface, only a few wet spots and some soft dirt near Grand Gorge. You will find some riding in the trees which provide shade but there is still a decent section of open field riding as you pass through farms. Sunscreen and bug repellent are highly recommended in the summer months. However, the benches that are there are generally in the shaded sections and make a nice spot for breaks.
There are two old railroad stations you can view, one in Stamford and one in Grand Gorge and lots of farms to ride through with horses, cows, chickens, rabbits.
All in all a nice bike ride and a pleasent trip."
This trail is one of my favorites in NY. Dave Riordan of the Catskill Revitalization Corp is a great resource and the trail is simply great.
"Spend a day on he Catskill Scenic Trail! The trail is one of the most rural trails I’ve ridden, yet easy to get to. My daughter and I brought our mountain bike tandem to the trail. We started in Stamford and rode to Bloomville, then returned. The surface is suited to mountain bikes and hybrids. The absence of pavement on the trail fit the surroundings perfectly.
A good portion of the trail ran through a canopy formed by trees on either side. Even in mid-afternoon we cycled long sections of the trail in the shade. In some sections, quite suddenly, the trail broke from the canopy into the valley with views extending for miles. One moment we cycled a shady tree-lined path and the next in wide fields dotted with cows and distant farm houses. The effect was quite surprising - almost like riding a different trail!
Along the way we stopped at several trestles to look in the streams below. As in other reviews we found all bridges and trestles are well maintained, and most of the path is in excellent condition as well. (If you stop at the steel trestles to view the streams, give room to the few wasp nests hidden in the trestle webs.)
The trail is truly rural. We saw perhaps a dozen people all afternoon. Except for short sections near towns we cycled out of sight of anything commercial. Cyclists should consider bringing the water and food they need with them, unless they want to divert off the trail. Be sure to bring along spare tube, patch kit, pump and tools. It’s a long walk back to town… Pack a bit of insect repellant too!
Another unusual feature of the trail is the gradual incline from Bloomville to Stamford. Most trails built on railroad beds are virtually flat. The rise on this trail is noticeable but certainly not unpleasant. Leave a bit more time cycling back to Stamford from Bloomville if that’s your return trip.
We started at Stamford at 12:30 and returned to our starting point at 4:00. Along the way we dawdled to enjoy the scenery and detoured off the trail into Bloomville, South Kortright and Hobart. On the return trip from Bloomville my daughter remarked how the scenery seemed new even though we retraced the trail - opposite of what we expected. We could have made the trip in less time, but this trail you won’t want to rush. Slow down to discover the subtleties which make this trail different from the urban and suburban rail-trails.
Our only disappointment: we didn’t have time to ride the Stamford-to-Grand Gorge section.
After putting the tandem on the car, we stopped at Mac-a-Doodles Ice Cream Stand just a few blocks from the village parking lot.
Related web sites: www.stamfordny.com; www.innsmart.com (for B&Bs, look under Delaware County, then for Hobart, South Kortright or Stamford); and www.stamfordvoice.com/Business/Places_to_Stay/places_to_stay.html
Along the way: Bloomville -- Only one small general store, didn’t see any hours posted; Hobart -- Village grocery, small general store, gas station/mini-mart, pizza shop; Stamford -- Good sized village; restaurants, mini-marts, bank, auto repair, pharmacy.
Parking: We found the easiest place for us to park in Stamford was the village lot on Main Street (Route 23), next to O’Connor Pharmacy. Turn right out of the lot onto Main, then right on Delaware, down a short hill one block to the trail. "
"I debated for several weeks whether any rail trail could be worth a two and one half-hour drive from my home to its closest trailhead. The Catskill Scenic Trail’s 12.4 mile long Stamford to Bloomville segment was most definitely worth the trip!
I found the trail surface and adjacent right-of-way along the entire stretch from Stamford to Bloomville in excellent condition. The ballast and light gravel surface was completely dry and free of debris. Foliage along the right-of-way was cut back to permit unencumbered travel by two bicyclists wishing to ride side by side. Bridges with firm and smooth surfaces are in place over every water crossing.
Views along the trail the day of my visit consisted mostly of rolling mountains, quaint town centers, quiet residential neighborhoods, and expansive farms. The vistas alone were worth my five hour round trip car ride!
Parking is available at the old railroad station on Railroad Avenue in Stamford, which now serves as the Catskill Revitalization Corporation’s office, at the trailhead on Route 10 near River Road in Bloomville, and at several public parking lots in the small hamlet of Hobart.
Although the trail also extends 7 miles east from Stamford to Grand Gorge, there is no parking available anywhere near the Grand Gorge trailhead. Also, the trail terminates on the outskirts of Grand Gorge right alongside a busy highway. As a result, the Trail’s Stamford to Grand Gorge segment isn’t as popular as its leg from Stamford to Bloomville.
Unfortunately, there are several pretty busy at-grade road crossings between Stamford and Bloomville. Parents with young children should exercise appropriate caution.
Regardless of the limited popularity and accessibility of “Stamford to Grand Gorge”, and the multiple at-grade street crossings, this trail is worth visiting if you live within a “reasonable” driving distance. If you’re unsure about whether you can drive in, visit the trail, and drive home all within one day, book a motel room for one night; you’ll be pleased that you did.
Footnote: I imagine that views from the trail during peak fall foliage season might be even better than they were during my early summer visit."
"WE rode a tandem and did about 28 miles. The slight grade sneaks up on you after 20 miles or so,especially since the weight of the two riders digs in where it is soft. It would'nt happen on a single. We loved the ride. Stop at the old train stop and the one room schoolhouse."
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